Fire Exit Theatre premieres winning play, Evergreen
By Laureen F. Guenther
Evergreen, the 2018 winner of the Scripts on Fire New Play Competition, will be produced by Fire Exit Theatre, February 6 – 10.
“It’s a play I started writing a little over 15 years ago when I was in my 20s, and just had an idea about two people connecting in a rural diner,” says Calgary playwright Krista Marushy.
At that time, she didn’t have an ending, so she put the play aside. Then last year, when she wanted to enter a play in Fire Exit Theatre’s Scripts on Fire competition, she looked at the play again.
“I thought, oh, this situation seems really applicable to what Fire Exit Theatre is about,” Marushy says. “It just needs an ending. So I delved back into it and brought my more mature self to it and a very different perspective to life than I had before. But I still was able to identify with the people and the things that were happening in the story.”
The story centers on two characters, a woman in her 20s and a man in his 40s.
“She’s very withholding, in regard to information about herself,” Marushy says. “But she has real knowledge and awareness about a guy she strikes up a conversation with at the Evergreen, a diner off the beaten track.”
“It’s about people connecting. It’s about mystical things you can’t explain and spiritual connections. And it’s about them both at a pivotal point in their life, where they need to choose to go on a direction, and about how they help each other make those choices.”
“When I wrote it, I was a woman in my 20s,” Marushy says. “This time around, I definitely understand the 40-year-old’s perspective a lot more … It’s about time having softened the things I feel. … When you’re younger, you don’t want to compromise as much, and then sometimes you start to compromise a little too much, as you get used to life. Or something in life beats you down and you resign yourself to it.”
“It’s about a woman fighting for a certain level of change and making something happen, and somebody else arguing from their perspective. Sometimes you just have to let things happen where they meet in the middle,” she says.
“The two central characters are, I think, both wrestling with not being content where they’re at, and wanting something else and how will they get there. And what do they have to teach each other,” she says. “It is ultimately, I think, about where we find answers and what speaks to those deep longings in our soul.”
“It’s interesting in an unexpected way, in the same way you can meet somebody who’s just interesting and draws you in,” Marushy says. “It’s got some unexpected moments that are really quite hopeful and beautiful. And it’s always nice to experience that in the theatre.”
Marushy’s plays have been produced at Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre, at Trinity Western University, and in a joint Rosebud Theatre / Heritage Park production. Her play Curiosity Cabinet won Best of Fest at the 2017 Calgary Fringe Festival.
Evergreen will be directed by Barrett Hileman and performed in the Engineered Air Theatre at Calgary’s Arts Commons, February 6 – 10.
On February 16, Fire Exit Theatre will host a workshop, How to Tell a Good Story with Your Life, at Centre Street Church, led by Fire Exit’s artistic director Val Lieske.
“All the elements needed to write a good story are the same elements needed to live a good life,” Lieske wrote in an email. “Conflict. Character development. Risk. Love. Sacrifice. Find out what scares you, what inspires you, what motivates you and then write them into your story.”
To buy tickets for Evergreen, or to register for How to Tell a Good Story with Your Life, go to fireexit.ca or call 403-640-4617.